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R. Bradley Pierce, William L. Grose, James M. Russell III, Adrian F. Tuck, Richard Swinbank, and Alan O'Neill

Abstract

The distribution of dehydrated air in the middle and lower stratosphere during the 1992 Southern Hemisphere spring is investigated using Halogen Occultation Experiment (HALOE) observations and trajectory techniques. Comparisons between previously published Version 9 and the improved Version 16 retrievals on the 700-K isentropic surface show very slight (0.05 ppmv) increases in Version 16 CH4 relative to Version 9 within the polar vortex. Version 16 H2O mixing ratios show a reduction of 0.5 ppmv relative to Version 9 within the polar night jet and a reduction of nearly 1.0 ppmv in middle latitudes when compared to Version 9. The Version 16 HALOE retrievals show low mixing ratios of total hydrogen (2CH4 + H2O) within the polar vortex on both 700 and 425 K isentropic surfaces relative to typical middle-stratospheric 2CH4 + H2O mixing ratios. The low 2CH4 + H2O mixing ratios are associated with dehydration. Slight reductions in total hydrogen, relative to typical middle-stratospheric values, are found at these levels throughout the Southern Hemisphere during this period. Trajectory calculations show that middle-latitude air masses are composed of a mixture of air from within the polar night jet and air from middle latitudes. A strong kinematic barrier to large-scale exchange is found on the poleward flank of the polar night jet at 700 K. A much weaker kinematic barrier is found at 425 K. The impact of the finite tangent pathlength of the HALOE measurements is investigated using an idealized tracer distribution. This experiment suggests that HALOE should be able to resolve the kinematic barrier, if it exists.

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